Word Soup

Welcome to another installment of Word Soup!

While the television show The Soup brings you “the strange, obscure and totally unbelievable moments in pop culture, celebrity news and reality TV,” Word Soup brings you those strange, obscure, unbelievable (and sometimes NSFW) words from talk shows, sitcoms, dramas, and just about anything else on TV. Today we take a look at some pickup artist lingo, a few Britishisms, blah people, and more.


Bailey: “He counters with some authorizing. He makes it seem like the last thing on his mind is hooking up. He just finds her interesting and wants to talk.”

“Till Death Do Us Part,” Castle, January 9, 2012

Authorizing is part of made-up pickup artist lingo constructed for this episode of Castle, and plays on “real” pickup artist lingo. Authorizing may have to do with the idea of being an authority and having power over women by feigning disinterest in a physical relationship.


Ed Schulz: “Blah isn’t the word I heard.”
Rick Santorum: “I don’t want to make blah people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”

The Ed Show, January 6, 2011

Some claim that Santorum said black people, which he denied: “If you look at it, what I started to say is a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — came out.  And people said I said ‘black.’ I didn’t.” Mark Liberman at Language Log asserted that what Santorum said sounded more like bligh, and that perhaps Santorum “started to say ‘black’ and used the vowel in ‘lives’, as an ordinary sort of anticipatory speech error, perhaps enhanced by a sudden doubt about whether it was a good idea to bring race into the discussion.”


Schmidt: “He’s my bronemy. My friemesis.”

“The Story of the 50,” New Girl, January 18, 2012

Bronemey is a blend of bro and enemy, and is the “bro” version of  frenemy – a blend of friend and enemy – “someone who pretends to be your friend, but is really enemy,” or someone with whom one has a love/hate relationship. Friemesis is a blend of friend and nemesis. An older term with a similar meaning is backfriend, “a false or pretended friend; a secret enemy,” which seems to have first appeared in the 15th century and is also slang for hangnail.


Doc [addressing a group of prostitutes]: “Pickpockets, lushingtons, and bug-hunters will be severely dealt with.”

“God of Chaos,” Hell on Wheels, January 15, 2012

A bug-hunter is “a street thief who specializes in snatching (drunken) men’s jewellery.” Bug was once slang for “breast-pin.” See this list for even more words for thief.

butter job

Esposito: “A butter job, what’s that?”
Bailey: “It’s when you flirt with the mark’s friend.”

“Till Death Do Us Part,” Castle, January 9, 2012

Butter job is another example of pickup artist lingo constructed for this episode of Castle, and perhaps comes from the idea of buttering up the targeted woman’s friend in order to get to the woman.

city, the

Anthony Bourdain: “[Sweetings is] one of the great institutions of what’s called ‘the city,’ London’s financial district.”

“London,” The Layover, January 16, 2012

In addition to the city, some other financial district nicknames include Wall Street (New York), FiDi (San Francisco), and La Defense (Paris).


Emily: “Defense lawyers use the term duress to describe the use of force, coercion, or psychological pressure exerted on a client in the commission of a crime. When duress is applied to the emotionally unstable, the result can be as violent as it is unpredictable.”

“Duress,” Revenge, January 4, 2011

Duress comes from the Latin durus, “hard,” and is related to the word endure.


Bailey: “Mike’s our buddy. He got involved with this crazy stalker chick. Colette something. So we staged an abduction to scare her off. You call it an ex-stalk-tion.”

“Till Death Do Us Part,” Castle, January 9, 2012

Ex-stalk-tion is a blend of the Latin prefix ex, meaning “out of, from,” stalk, and the Latin noun suffix -ion. It may also be a play on extraction, “the act of taking out.”


Chris: “I’m sorry, but the Ben Wyatt that I know – I just don’t think he’d be happy sitting here faffing around.”

“The Comeback Kid,” Parks and Recreation, January 12, 2012

To faff is British slang that means “to waste time on an unproductive activity,” and originally meant “to move violently.” According to World Wide Words, faff may have started “as a dialect word in Scotland and Northern England at the end of the eighteenth century, as a description of the wind blowing in puffs or small gusts,” and “may have been imitative of the sound of gusty wind.” Another possibility is that it was an alteration of maffle or faffle, both of which mean “to stammer.”

Special thanks to Fritinancy for pointing this out.


Doc: “Pickpockets, lushingtons, and bug-hunters will be severely dealt with.”

“God of Chaos,” Hell on Wheels, January 15, 2012

A lushington is a tippler or habitual drinker. The word may came from lush, a drunkard, which may come from “the old German word Loschen, which also means strong beer, or possibly from lush in the Irish traveller argot Shelta, which meant to eat and drink.”


Anthony Bourdain: “This place supposedly is where the Beastie Boys were inspired to write the lyric ‘When I am in Holland, I eat the pannenkoeken‘ which is a lyric I’ve had tattooed on my inner thigh since the release of Super Disco Breakin’.”

“Amsterdam,” The Layover, January 3, 2012

Pannekoek (pannenkoeken is plural) is a type of large Dutch pancake which can be savory or sweet.


Anthony Bourdain: “Pop-up means just what it sounds like: a joint that pops up anywhere it can, for a few hours or days, then moves on.”

“San Francisco,” The Layover, January 9, 2012

Pop-up in this context refers to a pop-up restaurant, a temporary restaurant which often operates “from a private home, former factory or similar and during festivals.”

rice queen

Becky [in voiceover to Mike Chang]: “No, Chang Du, I’m no rice queen.”

“Yes/No,” Glee, January 17, 2012

Rice queen usually refers to “a gay non-Asian man who is mostly attracted to East Asian men,” with rice as a disparaging yet, some may argue, reappropriated reference to East Asian culture and queen as a disparaging yet reappropriated term for a gay man. This instance of rice queen could be considered an example of cultural appropriation, “the adoption of some specific elements of one culture by a different cultural group.”


Beckett: “That’s espionage.”
Castle: “More like sexpionage.”

“Till Death Do Us Part,” Castle, January 9, 2012

Sexpionage is a blend of sex and espionage, and means using sex to commit espionage, “the practice of spying.”


Nick: “He was big. And he has this rare genetic disorder that deadens the nerves. And abnormally dense bones.”
Eddie: “Siegbarste. Your basic ogre.”

“Game Ogre,” Grimm, January 13, 2012

Siegbarste is German in origin. Sieg translates as “victory” while barste may be a corruption of bersten, “to burst or crack.”

straw man

Nash Castor: “That’s our Democratic straw man.”

“Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson,” The Simpsons, January 8, 2012

A straw man is “a person who is set up as a cover or front for a questionable enterprise.”


Josh: “So, there were an unusual amount of tweaky looking vampires scuffling around the doorstep last night.”

“Turn This Mother Out,” Being Human, January 16, 2012

Tweaky means having the attributes of a tweaker, slang for “a person addicted to methamphetamines.” Tweaking describes a tweaker’s behavior, which is often compulsive and repetitive, and is a a type of stereotypy. The origin of this sense of tweaking is unknown, as far as we could find, but may be imitative of twitch, tik, or twinge.  The vampires in this instance are craving blood, and as a result act like tweakers or drug addicts.


Anthony Bourdain: “The dark side of British night life: binge drinking, drunken rickshaw tours, general yobbery.”

“London,” The Layover, January 16, 2012

Yobbery refers to behavior like that of a yob, British slang for “a rowdy, aggressive, or violent young man.” Yob is boy spelled backwards (presumably, a yob behaves in the opposite way a proper boy should) and attests to 1859.

That’s it for this week! Remember, if you see any Word Soup-worthy words, let us know on Twitter with the hashtag #wordsoup. Your word and Twitter handle might appear right here!